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Miami Man Arrested for Human Trafficking in Suwannee County

Human Trafficking
Posted at 12:18 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 12:18:00-04

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - Troopers say that they have arrested a Miami man in Suwannee County for human trafficking.

The Florida Highway Patrol said that on Tuesday around 11:40 a.m., a trooper stopped Leonardo Garcia-Lavin, 43, on I-10 in Suwannee County for a traffic violation. 

Garcia-Lavin told the trooper that the passengers were his friends, but could not provide their names.

After that, the trooper had a K-9 sniff around the car. FHP said that the K-9 alerted the trooper, causing him to search the car. When he did, the trooper found marijuana residue on located on the floorboard.

During interviews with the driver and the two passengers, the trooper was able to determine that Garcia-Lavin was transporting the passengers from Texas to the state of Florida.

The female passenger told the trooper that she was forced to come to Florida to work off a debt that she had. The male passenger stated that he had only been in the country for 4 or 5 days.

When border patrol officers arrived, all three people were released to them.

FHP said that Garcia-Lavin is being charged with human trafficking. They said that neither of the passengers had a valid ID and their identity is pending further investigation by boarder patrol.